TRURO – Positive comments and smiles were plentiful, but so was a sense of pride and accomplishment.
It was an open house and ceremony late last month for the Colchester Food Bank at its new home on Prince Street.
For Mary DeAdder, it was an emotional and bittersweet moment. She spent 32 years with the food bank, which operates under the auspices of the Colchester County Support Society, and left in 2017 to care for her husband.
For 32 years, it was a dream of hers, to see the food bank move into a new, permanent home.
“I’m full of mixed emotions,” said DeAdder, before the ceremony began. “I’m very happy for them. Everyone in town says ‘Mary, this was your dream, to have a home for the people,’ and it was. The one thing I hope stays with it is they never lose the heart. The volunteers are the lifeline. They may not need it right now, but if it’s needed, I hope it’s here for another 32 years.”
Leanne Roberts, one of the members of the board of directors, presented DeAdder with a hand-painted plate and kind words for her dedication and work over the years. She said many who know DeAdder may not know her name, as many refer to her as ‘mom.’
From the food bank’s inception in 1985 until she retired in 2017, DeAdder filled the executive director role.
“The role was made for Mary,” said Roberts in her speech. “Her mothering tendencies, passion, and tenacious spirit helped carry through her years of service for those in need in Colchester County. In her 32 years, Mary did her best to ensure that no child had to go to bed hungry, no parent had to face sending their child to school with an empty lunchbox, no senior had to face the difficult choice along of which they should buy if they only had enough money to pay for one – heat, life-saving medication, or food.
“She worked her whole life with the understanding that everyone has the basic right to food and it’s our duty to do our part in making sure that happens.”
Don Reid, chairman of the board of directors, told those gathered in the clients waiting room and beyond that the facility belongs to the community, as it was a community effort that made the facility a reality.
“There are a lot of you in the room today who supported the project,” he said, while naming Joe Pinto specifically. When Pinto heard of the society’s plight for a new facility, he approached the society with the vacant land on Prince Street and offered to build them the facility they wanted at a price they could afford.
“Without Joe’s help, we wouldn’t have been able to do it,” said Reid.
Along with Pinto’s support, Reid acknowledged numerous others, including the Municipality of Colchester County and Town of Truro for funding grants, and Sobeys, which donated shelving for the food bank’s inventory.
He also paid a special thanks to Darrell Kuhn and the team at the Community Credit Union for offering the society an interest-free mortgage to make sure the society had enough money.
“When we were planning the building, we realized we wouldn’t be able to raise all the money up front,” Reid said, adding he took a course for non-profit organizations at the credit union. It was there he began chatting about the new facility. One thing lead to another, and the mortgage was offered.
“You can’t beat that,” said Reid. “They really made this project possible.”
Reid said many donations were received in support of the project, including some “very significant” anonymous ones.
But, he said the building is only a building.
“It’s not a solution to poverty, this just helps someone going through hard times. We need to do more as individuals, as a society, as levels of government, to help stem the poverty issue. It’s really unacceptable in a country like Canada to have so much poverty,” he said.
In January of this year, the food bank served a total of 1,850 people; 661 households received food boxes at 55 pounds each, for a total of 36,355 pounds of food given out.
Timeline of the Colchester Food Bank
- September 1985 – the first food bank in Truro started out of the basement of St. Georges Anglican Church in Bible Hill
- October 1985 – the food bank moved to the basement of the Brunswick Street United Church
- Oct. 6, 1986 – Colchester Food Bank Association was incorporated as a registered charity
- 1992 – the food bank moved into the former Butler Centre at 76 Lorne St.
- December 2016 – the Colchester Food Bank moved into a temporary location at 49 Forrester St. secured by the Town of Truro after the Lorne Street location was no longer deemed safe for operations
- Jan. 28, 2019 – the Colchester Community Support Society opened the Colchester Food Bank in its newly constructed building at 580 Prince St.